Luna Luna, Rabbits and You: Japanese Women’s Health Comes to the iPhone

The Wall Street Journal

By Yoree Koh

October 26, 2010

What do you get when you give women the chance to tell a rabbit well-versed in medical jargon when they are expecting their next monthly visitor? A hit mobile phone application.

Luna Luna is a cell phone application focused squarely on women’s health. The application, a female-oriented and more personalized version of a medical website, boasts 1.8 million registered users in Japan and hopes to increase subscriptions with its jump into the U.S. market. The application launched its English version on Apple’s iPhone last week.

The most popular feature of the application is the daily message from Tim, the portly white rabbit who alerts users where they are in their menstruation calendar. Terry is another long-eared animal tasked with keeping women informed about health-related concerns. He lets women know when it’s a “safe” or “dangerous” day – the times when conception would be most likely or unlikely to occur – using easy to read graphs to highlight the timeline. And Alfred has the hairy responsibility of checking a woman’s diet choices.

Luna Luna is the fastest growing application among the slate of others on offer from its parent company MTI Ltd., a Tokyo-based mobile phone application developer, according to company spokeswoman Junko Hirai. The company’s roster of applications includes Japan’s second-most popular mobile music downloading service, a weather forecast update center and has 9.31 million users as of the end of June, according to the company’s third quarter earnings report. Luna Luna increased user ranks to 1.8 million, swelling by about 300,000 since January. Ms. Hirai said the application is most widely used by women in their 20s.

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Really? Talking to a rabbit on a cell phone about your menstrual cycle?  That is like Jiminy Cricket narrating films on menstruation (and that happened to).  What does that say about menstruation and women?  Are we not to be taken seriously – at all?

PG

Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.